There is an explosion of interest in camping with dogs.
Since Covid lockdowns world-wide, people have shown a new interest in their pets. As one dog owner puts it: “We were locked up with our two dogs, and we formed a new bond with them. We want to take them with us on vacation”.
Thabaphaswa has been a favourite pet camping site since its inception, and we are used to all kinds of dogs (and even cats) vacationing with their owners.
To start with, as a dog owner you must realise that a time of relaxation for you, is a time of discovery of a whole new world for your dog.
Things to consider when planning a camping trip with your dog:
- Your dog’s personality
- Find a dog friendly campsite
- Refresh your dog’s training – an aggressive dog may ruin your camping trip as well as that of other campers.
- Prepare for emergencies
- Gear up – be sure to have everything your dog needs to be a well groomed, well-cared-for camping dog
- Practice good camping site etiquette
- Have fun
Camping with your dog can be immensely rewarding as it build mutual trust in a relaxed setting where your dog does not have to share your attention with the TV. It keeps your dog physically and mentally stimulated and you more active than when you would camp without your dog.
What to pack
- Dog food and food and water bowls
- Your usual dog treats
- Prescription medication if necessary
- Extra towels because dogs visiting Thabaphaswa get wet
- Dog first-aid kit
- A leash should it be needed
- Dog waste bags although you probably won’t need them on the large Thabaphaswa farm
- Your dog’s usual bed if you want it to be around familiar objects in an unknown camping environment.
Always keep in mind that camping with your dog is meant to be a relaxing, fun and companionship activity, and all your preparations and activities should be aimed at that.
How long will the hike be?
Your hikes should be as long as your dog is comfortable with.
Thabaphaswa offers a great opportunity for hikes from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Your dog’s fitness will dictate the length of your hikes.
Most dog owners who visit us with their dogs, have city dogs that are used to walking around the block, with a few used to jogging with their owners. You can expect that even your small city dog will enjoy a longer hike than usual when running free on the farm.
Just like humans, a dog forgets distance and time when it has fun and experience new surrounding and scents or encounter unfamiliar animals.
You know your dog, so you will be the best judge of what you dog needs and how much activity and experiences it would enjoy.
Weather and season
In the Waterberg, where Thabaphaswa is located, summers can be extremely hot and winters are mild.
Dog owners should avail themselves of weather forecasts to be able to plan their hikes with their dogs.
On a hot summer’s day, it is wise to take shorter hikes, carry water for your dog and rest in the shade more often.
Winter is an excellent time for hiking in the Waterberg as the temperature is mild and it is not the rainy season.
Obstacles on the hiking routes
None of Thabaphaswa’s hiking trails offer difficult obstacles.
We have flat and mountainous terrain, dams but no river crossings and ample hiking, biking and 4X4 routes which can all be used for hiking with your dog.
If you visit from the highveld or cooler areas, it will be good if you prepare for a warm climate when visiting Thabaphaswa. Especially in summer, and wit long-hair dogs, it is wise to keep an eye on your dog and make sure it has access to water at all times.
In summer, it is also advisable that you rather walk early morning or late afternoon/early evening if your dog is not used to extreme heat.
The dog owners who visit Thabaphaswa are generally very good dog owners and we will not tell you to groom your dog after hikes or to be on the lookout for ticks and flees on your dog.
Popular spot-on tick and flea treatments or collars should be adequate to keep your dog safe and out of risk.
You may want to carry a first-aid kit for your dog including tweezers, disinfectant, a tick removal tool and bandages as well as a collapsible dog bowl. We don’t require poo bags or the like.
Bring adequate snacks and provisions for your dog as it will be more active than usual.
If you come well-prepared and enthusiastic, there is no reason why you and your dog will not enjoy hiking at Thabaphaswa, whatever the season.
Things your dog can do at Thabaphaswa
- Go for a hike – we have many kilometers of hiking trails and mountains to climb, so there is ample space to go for a hike with your dog.
- Go for a swim – Thabaphaswa boasts a number of dams and streams where your dog (and you) can go for a refreshing swim.
- Play fetch – your dog will thank you for playing with him and Thabaphaswa has enough space (and sticks) to play fetch with your dog.
- Smell around – take your dog for a leisurely stroll and let him decide where to go, and how long he needs to take in all the smells on the way.